BOSTON - Apple has pushed out its first automated security update to Macintosh computers, to help defend against newly identified bugs that security researchers have warned could enable hackers to gain remote control of machines.
The company pushed out the software on Monday to fix critical security vulnerabilities in a component of its OS X operating system called the network time protocol, or NTP, according to Apple spokesman Bill Evans.
NTP is used for synchronising clocks on computer systems.
The bugs were made public in security bulletins on Friday by the Department of Homeland Security and the Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute.
Carnegie Mellon identified dozens of technology companies, including Apple, whose products might be vulnerable.
Apple's previous security patches were released through its regular software update system, which typically requires user intervention.
The company decided to deliver the NTP bug fix with its technology for automatically pushing out security updates, which Apple introduced two years ago but had not used previously, because it wanted to protect customers as quickly as possible due to the severity of the vulnerabilities, Mr Evans said.
"The update is seamless," he said. "It doesn't even require a restart."
Apple does not know of any cases where vulnerable Mac computers were targeted by hackers looking to exploit the bugs, he added.